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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  September 22, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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historic day in washington. president obama will personally be welcoming pope francis this afternoon for his visit to the united states. those are live pictures as you see raul castro, the president of cuba, now on the red carpet escorting pope francis to his plane. nbc's ann thompson is already on board the papal plane about to take off for andrews and is on the phone, i believe. the pope is just wrapping up this historic visit to cuba. we expect more firsts when he arrives in just a few hours. >> reporter: yeah, his reception here has been remarkable and you can see raul castro has taken every opportunity on this trip to be photographed with pope francis. he has gone to three masses, he's here at the good-bye ceremony and i think it's really extraordinary. i also think that's indicative of the popularity of this pope in cuba. i have been struck by talking to people how much they think that pope francis is really making a
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difference in their lives because he's the one who they see has really tried to reach out to the united states and to the castro government to start to normalize relations between those two countries, and if i had a dime for every time some cuban i talked to during this trip told me that i would be a wealthy woman. it has been a very successful trip for pope francis. today he said mass at the shrine of the virgin of charity who is the patron saint of cuba, and when he came in, sometimes when popes come into a church, there is polite applause but when he came in today, there was just thunderous applause. the people of cuba have embraced him and he has embraced them right back. >> as the pope has now boarded the plane, i just love the fact, we see now a picture of raul castro waiting for the doors to close but waiting down below, the fact that he carried his own briefcase. this is, as you have been reporting ever since he was named pope, this is a very
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different image of the pope. >> reporter: well, he has a prayer book that all priests have and in that prayer book, he has a letter that was written to him by his grandmother, rosa, when he was ordained a priest or when he decided to become a priest. there is also his day planner in there, a razor. i moon, as he says, it's not like he's carrying the code to the nuclear bomb. but he very much believes it's important that the pope be shown as a normal person. as he always says, i am a sinner so that he puts himself on the same level as his flock, not above them, not below them, but with them, accompanying them, and that is what he is trying to do here in cuba and what he will try to do in the united states. >> anne, i know that you are going to have to go in a moment, but just recalling 20 some years
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ago, less than 20 years ago, when pope john paul ii was in cuba and still, as you have been pointing out in your stories, there were underground soup kitchens because the priests did not want to be in the open ministering to the flock. >> reporter: well, i think this is what people don't realize. the catholic church has always stayed here even after cuba was declared an atheist state by fidel castro. it went underground. what has happened in recent years is slowly, the church's activities are now coming above ground. but one of the big things is the catholic church still does not have schools in cuba. we all know that parochial schools have for years, for decades, were the backbone of the catholic church in the united states of america. there are no such schools here in cuba. they are making a little bit of inroad in education in that the
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catholic church is offering english as a second language course and of course an entrepreneurship to help cubans develop their own businesses. >> we also saw pictures of raul castro waving. i have never seen a more ebullient raul castro. >> reporter: that's what we have been amazed at. when they were walking through the government offices on sunday, raul castro was grabbing the pope's arm, he was holding his hand, he was smiling and laughing and our havana bureau chief, mary murray, said she had never seen him react to anyone that way. he was almost giddy. people have been very surprised by that reaction. >> anne, they are rolling up the red carpet. i don't know if you can see out the window from your vantage point. >> reporter: i can. i can see them moving the chairs. i have a restricted view here but we can see that we're taking
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off and so far, nobody's coming to accuse me of being alec baldwin so we can keep talking. >> the other thing is you expect he will, as is his practice on some of these flights, speak to you reporters en route. i know there's no wifi on the plane for you to file from the plane, but as soon as you land in andrews, our cameras are there and you will be running off that plane to talk to us here msnbc and on the network, but how does that work? i have covered presidents on these flights. >> reporter: what they have done, they told us that he would come back and take three to five questions, and the questions all have to be about the cuba trip. and so what we do is there are 72 journalists on this plane. we organize ourselves in language groups and decide what the questions will be. so as you can imagine, there are many language groups on this plane. there's italian, french, german, spanish, english. so we'll see how many of us, how
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many questions get asked. but i think that you can expect when you talk about cuba, obviously it's what you would expect, i assume he would be asked about his meeting with fidel castro on sunday, perhaps he would be asked about the fact that some dissidents were detained when they were trying to go to where the pope was staying to meet with him. those are the kinds of questions i think we can anticipate during that press conference. >> let me ask you about language for just a moment because i read that when he was a young seminaryian in ireland, he spent three months and did study english but he said it was very difficult for him but he's going to be addressing congress, of course, on thursday in english. eigh it's not his native language. >> reporter: he will give four speeches in english. he said before he doesn't have an ear for english.
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he doesn't feel comfortable in it. you know how pope francis speaks. he doesn't speak like any other pope we have ever heard at least publicly in that he speaks in the language of common people. but he does that best when he's speaking either his native spanish or italian which is his second language. he doesn't feel that comfortable in english. but he does try and when we were with him in south korea, he gave several speeches and even did a q & a with young people in english, but during that q & a he switched to spanish because he can get more of his thoughts out, get his thoughts out in an easier way. but we will hear him speak english. he does so haltingly, but let me tell you, his english is a whole lot better than my spanish. >> just tell us a little about this plane. is this a specially retro fitted plane for the pope? >> reporter: no. it's a basic airbus 330. it has three classes of service, first class, business class and
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economy class. i call them pope class, cardinal class and ink-stained wretch class. but no, it used to be in the days of john paul ii before they had lie-flat beds they would retrofit a plane because they would put in a bed for the pope so he could rest on these trips. that is not necessary anymore, because of lie-flat beds. i assume that when this plane lands it will go back into service and cart people either to rome or milan or somewhere else. but we fly alitalia into the country and the flight is always called alitalia 4000 and then when we get to the u.s., we will switch to american airlines and he will fly that to new york, philadelphia and then back to rome. >> and when he arrives in andrews air force base, as you know, the president, vice president, michelle obama, dr. jill biden are going to be greeting him. this is a rare gesture of respect.
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the president going out to andrews to have this arrival ceremony. >> reporter: i think, you know, i was thinking about it today, and one of the themes for pope francis on this trip is family. he is obviously going to the world meeting of families in philadelphia which is a catholic celebration of the family, and today he ended his trip in cuba with a meeting of families here, and he talked about how families are the domestic church. and i was thinking, i don't know if the obamas and bidens are bringing their children but again, when he makes his first step into the united states, he will be meeting families i's a very important social structure for the catholic church. it's a very important social structure to the pope himself, his family has played a key role in his life. he has throughout this trip, and i think we will hear it in the u.s., he will stress the importance of family. >> his mother was a very important influence on him.
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>> reporter: his mother and his grandmother. his grandmother even more so, because rosa raised him as a young child, and she is the one who really sort of instilled in him this -- it's like the common catholicism. it's the people's catholicism. she prayed the rosary, she believed in the devil. he speaks a lot about the devil. all of that comes from his grandmother, rosa. she played a big influence in his life and in fact, when he decided to become a priest, his mother was extraordinarily upset. she didn't want to see her son go into the priesthood i. it took her several years to accept the fact her son was going to be a priest. he not only became a priest, he became the pope. >> the other thing is that he has been a much traveled pope even though before he became pope he did not see himself as one of the church leaders who
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traveled a whole lot. he really was devoted to argentina. >> reporter: i always joke, when we were at the conclave everybody was telling me how we needed a younger pope, who could travel the world and do social media. they announced him as the next pope and i'm thinking he's 76 years old. only in the catholic church could this be a youth movement. and he has embraced the travel. he really seems, he really seems to enjoy it. he loves being among people. think about where he's gone. every place he's gone has been symbolic, ecuador, paraguay, cuba, sri lanka. he's gone to the peripheries where people are in need of him or in need of compassion, where people have suffered. the trip to the united states is sort of out of character regarding that philosophy but i spoke to someone in the vatican and said what pope francis is trying to do on this trip is
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symbolically show that he can build a bridge between a third world country like cuba and a first world country like the united states. but just even making this three and a half hour flight, and he spoke about that, the need to build bridges, sow seeds of reconciliation, break down walls, and how important that is. that's the job that he wants the church to perform. >> well, anne, that has been already such a critical role. that was a key point in the secret negotiations facilitated by the pope to normalize relations, to win the release of alan gross back on december 17th, and it's why among other reasons, the president and the white house is making such a big effort on this, because they feel at least on climate change and on the cuba relationship, and on the iran negotiations, that he has been outspoken on
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all those things and an active participant behind the scenes, unlike some of the more traditional catholic catechisms which would conflict with liberal democratic views. >> reporter: andrea, i apologize but i am starting to lose you. they have revved up the engines so i am going to have to go. three and a half hours from now, alitalia 4000 should be in the united states. >> we will have you. we will have you when you land. anne thompson, thank you. safe journey. >> reporter: thank you, andrea. >> as we see this plane still on the tarmac in havana, rather in santiago, when it does arrive here in washington in only three and a half to four hours, it will be greeted by incredible security. the streets are already closed, barricades in place, government workers being told stay home, work from home if you can. 60 law enforcement agencies are teaming up for one of the
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nation's biggest security operations ever. nbc's justice correspondent pete williams joins me from my washington newsroom. kelly o'donnell joins me from the white house where the pope will be tomorrow. first, this rare plane-side greeting we are going to expect from the president, the vice president, the obamas and the bidens jointly greeting francis when he lands. >> reporter: the security is extraordinary, and i have been out on the streets today. there are fewer people out in washington but the security gets more complicated as the pope's schedule goes on. washington, d.c. is used to events like this. he will be here, it's business as usual. a big concert downtown at one of the big venues. but when he gets to new york, he's there, so is the opening of the united nations general assembly and then when he gets to philadelphia, it's even more complicated, because the population of a city is almost going to double as people come in, and of course, there are many events where the pope wants to be out with the people and that's what makes the security
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challenge so big. >> kelly, tell us about andrews air force base, the welcoming ceremony. >> reporter: as you point out, it is unusual and people may forget that not only is the holy father the leader of the catholic church and a moral figure around the world, he is a head of state. the vatican is the place, the holy see is the nation state. so it is unusual for the president to be greeting another world leader in this way. it's another sign of respect. the bidens will also be there. they are catholic as well. and here at the white house, i can tell you there are already signs of the papal visit. the papal flag is joined by the stars and stripes around the perimeter here of the white house complex and today is really a travel day for the holy father. so the greeting at andrews joint base will be a short ceremony, a kind gesture, and then he will go to spend the evening. the big show for the white house happens tomorrow. >> thanks so much. as the plane is moving, we can
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see the departure from santiago, cuba. democratic presidential candidate martin o'malley joins me now. governor, it's good to see you. this is obviously a very big day for all of us in america, for the world, really, and certainly for you as a catholic. what are you expecting from the visit? >> well, i think this is a tremendously historic opportunity for us not only to reflect but also to take further action to fulfill our role and respond to the pope's call that all of us should be about waging peace, whether that's in accommodating more syrian refugees in the face of that crisis, or whether it's taking a leadership role to protect our common home, the earth, from the devastating effects of climate change and transitioning to a clean energy future. i think this is going to be a wonderful few days to welcome the very historic arrival of the first pope ever elected from the americas. i think it should also cause us to reflect upon our relationship
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within our own hemisphere with other people, not only cuba but throughout central america and south america. so these are exciting times. it will be a great visit, i think. >> governor o'malley, what about the areas in which the pope and some of the democratic party disagree, political figures disagree? just today, the senate beat back an attempt to try to limit late term abortions. it was a cloture vote, filibuster vote, but there are disagreements, policy disagreements with this pope and with other church leaders, clearly. >> well, there will always be disagreements in a pluralistic society when it comes to policy choices. the fact remains there's a tremendous amount of common ground that all of us share. our belief that no child should ever go hungry. our belief that we should be doing all we can in our power to reduce infant mortality. our belief that we should heal the sick. that we should clothe the naked,
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we should shelter the homeless. these are all things i believe there's tremendous amount of common ground to be found on and also, how we treat strangers in our midst, namely, immigration and sensible immigration laws that don't break up families but instead, seek to keep families together and allow people to live in the open light of an open country with an open economy where people can work hard and do better by their kids. these are all areas where i think there's a tremendous amount of common ground and tremendous resonance to the pope's message. i think he will inspire not only catholics and people of different religions but even those who profess to have no religious faith at all, because his message is clearly universal and it's about the human family. >> and i want to ask you about the controversies that ben carson and also donald trump and the republican side have been involved in, and particularly what carson said on "meet the press" to chuck todd that a muslim should not be president
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of the united states because he did not think that it was compatible with upholding the constitution of the united states. your reaction to that? >> yeah. there's a lot of very strange kind of bigoted and oftentimes racist rhetoric coming off of the presidential candidate podiums of the republican party. that's why it's so important that the democratic party start having its own presidential debates. i believe that we are all in this together. i believe the vast majority of americans don't disqualify a candidate for president based upon his or her religious affiliation. i think that's sad, bigoted language that's a vestige of our past. it's not where our country's going. if you talk to young people under 30 you will rarely find people that subscribe to the sort of bigoted attitudes towards people based on faith or who want to -- you rarely find young americans that want to deny rights to gay couples or their families or who want to bash immigrants. that's not where our country is
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headed. we are a much more compassionate people than that. >> you have been struggling somewhat in the polls, down from 3% to 1%. do you think that is because in part, there haven't been democratic debates yet? what can you do to try to get the dnc to change its mind? >> i think that's a big part of it. i have said very clearly that this is party malpractice for the republicans to have debate after debate, present their ideas and their candidates to 24 million americans and for the democratic party to remain silent and to limit debates. i think that's a huge mistake. for my own part, i am going county by county throughout iowa and town by town through new hampshire, and i have not yet begun to fight. i believe that the people of both of those early states are very hungry to hear what the candidates have to offer and i believe they will be tuning in in droves to the democratic debates once we start finally having them in the middle of october. >> and what about joe biden? what will the impact be, do you think, if he does get into the
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race? because already, even him being polled in these polls has taken a big chunk out of hillary clinton's support. without joe biden being among the questions, she jumps up 11 points in the latest cnn poll against bernie sanders. >> my own candidacy had gotten up to seven points before the vice president's name was dealt into these polls. i really admire vice president biden. i think he would add a tremendous amount to this debate, and i have a tremendous amount of affection for him. he's a neighbor. for my own part, i offer not only progressive goals and progressive promises, but actually 15 years of executive experience getting progressive things done. not following polls, but actually leading based on the moral principles of our country as i have and calling upon the white house to accept more syrian refugees. i am a candidate that represents a new generation of americans and that's what i have to offer in this race. and i welcome anyone else like the vice president who feels
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they have something important to offer this debate. >> but you would certainly be better off as a candidate if he were not in the mix. >> it's hard to say, though, because in a way, the very fact that he's thinking about this shows the precipitous drop that the inevitable front-runner of the year, secretary clinton, has experienced in the last couple months. i think the very fact that vice president biden is looking at this expresses the concern that must be held at the white house and other quarters throughout the democratic party that perhaps the inevitable front-runner is not as inevitable as many thought two months ago. so that actually opens up a wider lane, i believe, for other candidates, especially my candidacy since i'm the one candidate that actually has executive experience in getting things done as an executive. >> governor martin o'malley, thank you very much. former mayor of the city of baltimore. thank you. more than a million people are expected to flock to philadelphia, not far north from baltimore, when the pope arrives saturday at independence hall.
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he will speak about religious freedom, about immigration at the historic lectern that abraham lincoln used while delivering the gettysburg address. he will deliver a mass at the iconic art museum on benjamin franklin parkway. philadelphia mayor michael nutter joins me now. mayor, are you ready? >> we're ready. the official world meeting of families congress starts at 1:00 p.m. eastern standard time. we are i guess a little more than an hour out or so, little less than an hour, and we are geared up and ready to go for the congress and for pope francis, who i understand is about to leave cuba coming to the united states of america. we cannot be more excited or ready for an historic and spiritual journey through philadelphia, new york and washington, d.c. >> philadelphia has real challenges in that this influx of people for the gathering is going to double the size, the population size, of the city. how are you dealing with the
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security and there was a bulletin from pennsylvania police, we believe, which warned other law enforcement agencies about the possibility of imposters pretending to be first responders to launch terror attacks. >> yeah. well, you know, from time to time, you do get those kind of nutcase situations, but we are fully prepared. when you talk about security in philadelphia, this is a tremendous partnership with police commissioner ramsey as our leader, one of the best known and highly respected police commissioners in the united states of america, partnered with our great partners in this work, the united states secret service. i know you know that secretary of homeland security jae johnson and the secret service director joe clancy were in philadelphia just last week. they reviewed our entire security plan. they have been getting briefings from their respective personnel and secretary johnson indicated everything is a-okay in philadelphia. when you talk about partnerships
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on the ground with the world meeting of families, the state police and governor wolf and his team, all of the infrastructure is being put in place for the crowds, however big they may be, but we are certainly geared up and ready to go and expecting a whole lot of folks to be in philadelphia, culminating with three huge public events by pope francis, a speech on immigration and religious freedom, the festival of families also on saturday with aretha franklin and andreas bocelli, a ton of folks, and the pope will hear from families, then culminating sunday with a visit to one of our prisons, not to forget those who may be behind bars but soon to return to civil society. then the mass on the parkway at 4:00 in the afternoon. hundreds of thousands of people out on the ben franklin parkway to celebrate with pope francis. this is open to all, all faiths, all people.
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you will have a ball and a spiritual blessing in philadelphia. >> it is so exciting to even anticipate it. you are going to have a rare opportunity, obviously, as the host mayor. what would you like to speak to pope francis about? >> well, i have more than a few things on my mind. fortunately, i feel very, very blessed in this regard, i have now met pope francis twice, once last year and once this year, both times in rome, but to have him in our hometown, my hometown, is an incredible feeling and so what i would talk with him about if i had a few minutes, certainly much of his ministry, the poor, poverty, education, the challenges of many in our lgbt community, the discrimination they feel out in the general public and even sometimes within, the religious community or their church, how do we deal with issues of, as the pope has talked about, climate change and global warming and how we interact as human beings. so i don't know how much time i'll have with him.
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he's pretty busy, but more than a few things to talk with pope francis, his holiness about here in philadelphia. >> as you have been speaking, we are watching live pictures of the alitalia plane with pope francis taking off. it has now just taken off from santiago after that historic visit. they are airborne, they are heading for america, heading for andrews air force base. thank you so much, mayor nutter. we will all be watching as the world meeting of families gathers in philadelphia. >> city of brotherly love and sisterly affection. we're ready. >> thank you. we know you are. here in the u.s., hillary clinton speaking out today about alleged price gouging by drug companiesmentf companies, a day after the "new york times" reported a drug company was recently bought by a hedge fund and hiked the price of a critical drug 5,000% overnight. the ceo told cnbc he would not lower the price after the
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criticism which they raised from $13.50 to $750 per tablet. all this as a group of famed economists is gathering at the u.n. to promote accessibility for better health care around the world under the umbrella of the u.n. joining me is economist larry summers, harvard university professor, former treasury secretary. he was leading this global initiative. larry, good to see you. thanks very much for being with us. this is just one example today but let's focus on this, because here you have a hedge fund that buys a company and overnight, raises the price 5,000% on a critically needed drug and it's not a new drug. this is not a case of some magical discovery. they say that it's for future r & d. how do you justify that? >> andrea, i don't know the facts of that case. here's what i do know. the world's got a historic opportunity to do something that's once in human history and to achieve convergence between
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rich countries and poor countries in terms of basic health indicators. with the right kind of investments over the next quarter century, investments that will pay off ten to one or pay off 20 to one, we can get child mortality rates worldwide down to the levels that we took as normal in the united states at the beginning of the 21st century. that is a remarkable potential but it requires a global effort. it requires countries to step up their efforts. it requires us to step up our efforts in terms of funding medical research, particularly on medical research, on diseases like malaria that affect people in developing countries. it requires much greater effort from the private sector to make sure that drugs are disseminated widely. this is in many ways a mission
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for our current generation. it's hugely important. that's why the commission i chaired focused so much on this idea of global convergence and why economists are as a large group getting behind this as a central element in the global development effort going forward. >> how do you get drug companies to do -- to join this effort and not be focused on the bottom line and on price gouging? >> look, i think drug companies, if they don't earn profits, they're not going to keep doing research and they're not going to be able to perform their mission. some of the great triumphs in public health come out of drug company research. the polio vaccine, the efforts by merck and other companies that basically eliminated river blindness which had been a disease that affected tens of
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millions of people in africa. but yes, the industry has to be aware of its basic responsibilities and particularly when products are being sold to people with low incomes, profit cannot be the only part of the equation. and we need to find that balance in public policy between giving drug companies strong incentives to do research and also making sure that the fruits of that research become widely available. frankly, i don't think it's a subject that is well treated when industry and its industry allies yell about price controls being the end of the world, or is always well treated on the other side when people call them
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pirates or suggest that they're thieves. it's a complicated question and we've got to find the right kind of balance. i think if we do that, we can have more valuable research and more reasonable prices for consumers. that general effort that was taken on in obamacare to produce more reasonable health care costs in the united states, including pharmaceuticals, has had some very important results. we've had slower growth in health care costs over the last five years relative to other costs in the economy than at any time since the second world war. >> larry summers, leading a global initiative. thank you. to be continued. the pope's plane, the alitalia flight 4000 set to land just outside washington in a few hours. more of our special coverage of the visit of pope francis to america continuing in just a moment with senior advisor to president obama, valerie jarrett right here on msnbc.
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cuba sent pope francis off with pomp and circumstance moments ago as he boarded the plane having been greeted first on the tarmac by raul castro, the president. pope francis in the air on his way to washington. umbrellas in hand as desperately needed rain started pouring down just after his arrival. cubans called this storm holy
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water as they have been suffering from a terrible drought. we are joined now from havana. the rain was just one blessing of this trip. >> reporter: well, it wasn't just one blessing. the cubans have actually joked that today the pope managed to perform a second, even more difficult miracle after it rained heavily in santiago following his arrival, following one of the worst droughts in the last 100 years in that area of the island. well, that second miracle was to get president raul castro to attend all three of his masses, including the one he held this morning there in santiago. raul castro was sitting once again in the first row. that's a very powerful symbol. it's a message that appears to suggest the process of reconciliation between the catholic church and the state is well under way. of course, in promotion of
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really, just tolerance. nbc news has heard from source thas at the airport before taking off, as you see there in those images, the pope and raul castro met once again in a private meeting that was totally unscheduled. they had met already twice during his stay on the island. well, if that is confirmed, let's once again the proof they seem to be in agreement and there seems to be a suggestion the catholic church ifinally cae out of the dark ages in cuba. >> thank you so much. valerie jarrett joins me now, senior advisor to president obama. welcome. i know you have a lot on your plate with the events of the next couple days, but the pope's role behind the scenes in those secret negotiations of helping to arrange for the normalization of relations, the initiative from this administration, a critical role. >> yes, good afternoon. thank you for putting the spotlight on what will be a
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historic visit here with pope francis arriving in the united states. yes, the pope was instrumental in helping forge better relations between the united states and cuba. it looks like he had a terrific visit in cuba and i can tell you, everybody here from the president, first lady, vice president, dr. biden, americans all across our country are looking forward to welcoming pope francis for his first visit to the united states. >> the only negative note from cuba was that some dissidents who had wanted a moment with the pope were held back by security. not surprising for those who have been to cuba, but there still is the issue of the dissidents t political prisoners. >> well, i can't comment on any particular cases, but what i can certainly say to you is cuban rights, the respect for human dignity, is a top priority of president obama. he talks about it with leaders around the world and it's certainly something we have emphasized with cuba. >> what about the security
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challenges with the white house visit and the pope is going to be here, he will be on capitol hill, he's known for getting out of his popemobile, for reaching out to people. how challenging is this for the secret service and for all american law enforcement? >> well, you can be -- rest assured a lot of hard work from multiple agencies, the lead being the secret service, have put in place plans that they intend to keep the pope as safe as possible with the thousands of people who will be here at the white house tomorrow, 15,000 people. obviously there will be large crowds in philadelphia and new york as well. so we have been working for a very long time to make sure we provide for all contingencies. >> as well, there has been a lot of talk on the political front in the last couple of days about attitudes towards muslims, what donald trump said as well last week and not pushing back. trump said then in follow-up interviews that he has no
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obligation to defend the president from someone who is speaking in a town hall meeting and disparaging the president and saying he's a muslim, he's not an american. what do you think donald trump should have done in that moment? >> you know what, all i can tell you is this. president obama ran for election not once, but twice. he won not once, but twice, based on the philosophy of what can we do to bring our country together, what can we do to be inclusive, what can we do to be tolerant of one another, what can we do to respect the diversity that makes our country so strong and so successful, and that's what i think the american people respond to. it's why he was elected two times. so in the time we have left, our sole focus is ensuring we continue the pledge the president made to the american people to provide equal opportunity to all americans, to strengthen our economy, to be a positive force around the world and that that's the message that we like to deliver. >> and ben carson saying
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initially on "meet the press" that a muslim should not be president of the united states? >> well, our country is one where the founding principles were based on religious freedom, so i think all americans who are citizens should have the ability to take their case directly to the american people and that the american people should have the final say. and that no religion should prevent you from being the president of this country. citizenship is required. beyond that it's up to the american people. >> as we speak, china's president xi is arriving in seattle. talk about challenges for the white house this week. you have a state visit with china on the heels of the pope's visit. there you see president xi arriving in the united states. he will have meetings with the corporate world. how important is the issue of china's alleged hacking into our government computers unresolved and unretaliated against as he comes to the white house for this state visit?
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>> well, we have to face the fact that the united states and china are the two largest economies in the world. it's important that we can work together, where we can, on issues of climate change, for example, our relationship with iran, two major issues with which we've had a very positive working relationship with china. there are also issues where we disagree. cybersecurity is a big issue. i know president xi will be meeting with many members of the technology business community when he's in seattle. when he comes here, the president will be raising issues of cybersecurity and just really encouraging president xi to continue with reform measures to strengthen the economy in china and not slip backwards. china is very important to the world economy and it's important to us that our businesses be able to invest there and do business and thrive under the rule of law, and we also want to make sure that we are adhering to the laws here in our country and cybersecurity is an increasing challenge in the united states. we are going to do everything
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possible to control it. >> on monday, the president's going to be addressing the united nations, the same day as president rouhani of iran and of course, vladimir putin and raul castro. are we expecting that president obama will have a substantive conversation one-on-one with vladimir putin? >> i don't have any specific plans to announce to you at this time. i know this is the 70th occasion of the u.n. general assembly. the president has addressed it each year since he has been in office. he's looking forward to taking this opportunity to talk about the progress we have made, but the work that lies ahead on the global stage as well as having various other meetings in the course of his time there. it is, as you said, a big week welcoming pope francis, having the state visit with china and then going to new york for the u.n. a lot of important business to get done. >> you're not ruling out meetings. you're just not announcing them yet? >> we have no announcements to
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make for you at this time. >> thank you very much. >> i do want to emphasize how exciting this is to have pope francis here. it's just a unique visit, his first visit to america. there is an outpouring of enthusiasm and interest. those 15,000 tickets just went like you wouldn't believe and i think it gives the entire country a chance to celebrate his presence and leadership. >> indeed. thanks for taking time for us today. the politics of the pope, he's seen as liberal but not on everything. what happens when church meets state? proud of you, son. ge! a manufacturer. well that's why i dug this out for you. it's your grandpappy's hammer and he would have wanted you to have it. it meant a lot to him... yes, ge makes powerful machines. but i'll be writing the code that will allow those machines to share information with each other. i'll be changing the way the world works. (interrupting) you can't pick it up, can you? go ahead.
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it's covered by most health plans. hey babe, last one home cooks? ♪ ♪ ♪ another tie. order in? next time i drive. the right-sized nissan rogue. ♪ and the pope of course will be in congress for a joint meeting of congress on thursday. each party we're told is selecting teams of lawmakers to act as blockers to protect the pontiff's personal space when he walks through the aisles to address congress thursday. the prime targets, members like
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shall we say elliott engel and sheila jackson lee who stake out positions hours earlier to shake the president's hand as he arrives for the state of the union each year. this could get interesting. i'm joined by congressman chris van hollen. have you been assigned a seat as a blocker to stop your colleagues from encroaching on the pope's space? >> i have not yet but i clearly need to look into this opportunity. being a blocker for the pope would be an honor. >> would it be man-to-man or zone defense? one has to wonder. >> i don't know what the tactics are being employed here. it's something i just learned about. >> there's a lot of excitement clearly on the hill. he's going to be speaking in english, not his native tongue. obviously addressing some issues with which there is broad agreement, especially in your party, on climate change and the need to do more for refugees and migrants. >> yes, look, the pope's message is one of humanity, a message of hope, a message of protecting god's creation, the planet, so i think he will be talking about
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things like climate change. i think he will be talking about having an economy that works for everybody, where everybody has a chance to climb the ladder of opportunity. i think he will stick to universal tone and universal theme and i hope people accept the pope's wisdom. >> what about the issue of abortion? just today the senate blocked a vote to stop late term abortions and planned parenthood of course, and the whole controversy over fetal tissue research and those, you know, allegedly distorted videos, but long question of abortion. it's a huge obstacle which could shut down the government. >> well, it is, and i'm hoping we can resolve this issue quickly. look, people are entitled to their own views on these issues, but in my view, our republican colleagues are not entitled to shut down the federal government to try to impose those views on the american people. look, when you're talking about the context of the pope's
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message, he's obviously got a very broad message on a lot of different issues and people will listen to his message but when it comes to shutting down the government, this is something that's in congress' control. we have only four legislative workdays to get the job done and i really hope our republican colleagues won't do what they did two years ago. two years ago, they shut down the government to try to shut down the affordable care act. now they are trying to do it to shut down funding for women's health programs and planned parenthood. they are not going to succeed. they won't succeed. they will only succeed in doing great damage to our economy. >> what about the expense? you have just come from nih, where they are making plans already in case there's a shutdown. that's a lot of money. >> it's a huge waste of resources, not to mention the disruption and cost to the economy, but i was at nih with the director, dr. collins, to highlight the human toll of a shutdown. they have a clinical center where kids and adults with rare
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and very serious diseases come. it's their only place to come for last hope. during the government shutdown last time, hundreds of people were denied access to it. i met with a young boy today who is getting cancer treatments, pediatric cancer treatments there. if he were to have one of those treatments scheduled during the shutdown he would be denied treatment, that life-saving advances he has been able to benefit from. so there are very high human costs to the shutdown. >> four legislative days. lots of luck. congressman chris van hollen, of course, the momentous history that will be make this week as well. thank you. after a break, what's coming up this afternoon as we anticipate the pope's arrival here in washington. americans. we're living longer than ever.
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moments ago, the pope getting ready to board his plane in santiago, now en route to the united states carrying his own briefcase. tune in to msnbc this afternoon. we are kicking off special coverage of pope francis in america anchored by brian williams beginning today at 3:00. on thursday, a special edition of "andrea mitchell reports" live from capitol hill. first time ever a sitting pope will address a joint meeting of congress. we will talk to house democratic leader nancy pelosi, and congressman michael mccall. my colleague thomas roberts joins with what's coming up next on "msnbc live." it is a big day. hard to believe this long countdown is almost over. pope francis on his way here to america right now. we have it covered for you all afternoon. plus i will sit down with a group of catholics who remain loyal to their faith, but they have to do it while reconciling what a church doctrine says about them. typically condemning them and
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centurylink. your link to what's next. hi, everybody. i'm thomas roberts. thanks for joining us for what will be a big afternoon of coverage right here on msnbc. right now, pope francis is in the air, on his way to america. francis is so popular, he's been dubbed globally the people's pope and he is going to be on u.s. soil for the first time ever coming up this afternoon. the pope got on a plane in cuba roughly 30 minutes ago headed for washington, d.c. hundreds of thousands of well wishers have welcomed him so far throughout this whirlwind trip. expect that and more when the pope makes his tour from d.c. to new york to philadelphia this week. at 4:00 eastern, president obama and the first lady will be there on the tarmac as the pope arrives. we have a report from the white house coming up for you. but right now, let's start in havana,

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